Welcome From the Director

The Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship is a one year ACGME-accredited fellowship. We are committed to the education of the next generation of physicians for a full-time career in academic or community-based palliative care and hospice. We take pride in the many unique aspects of this program and the enthusiastic commitment of our faculty.

Our fellows benefit greatly from the training environment created through the collaboration of John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County (formerly Cook County Hospital), Rush University Medical Center and Horizon Hospice and Palliative Care. Fellows experience the unique challenges of provisioning care in a multiplicity of settings and circumstances. Patients and families present from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds with a wide variety of disease conditions.

During the fellowship year, our fellows receive thorough training in the principles and practice of palliative care ensuring the continuity and quality of care across various healthcare delivery settings. Palliative care is by definition interdisciplinary, thus our fellows are able to draw upon and benefit from the expertise and instruction of other physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and healthcare professionals involved in the assessment and treatment of the patient/family unit.

Joshua Baru, MD
Program Director
Program Overview

Diverse Experience

The Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship provides fellows with the opportunity to experience the practice of palliative medicine in a wide variety of healthcare settings. Patients come from diverse socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and the geographic settings of care range from the inner city of Chicago to suburban areas.

The faculty members bring expertise in hospice and palliative care, as well as expertise in various other relevant fields, including: ethics, general medicine and hospitalist medicine, critical care, clinical research, addiction medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, cross-cultural medicine, faculty development, program development and medical education.

Participating Institutions

  • John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County-a large, inner-city, public hospital
  • Rush University Medical Center-a quaternary university hospital
  • Horizon Hospice and Palliative Care-a large, community-based hospice program with extensive experiencing in educating a variety of health care professionals


  • To educate the next generation of physicians in hospice and palliative care so that more people can receive the benefits of interdisciplinary quality care when confronted with life-limiting illness and at the end of life.
  • To train physicians to demonstrate competence in specialist-level expertise in palliative care. The program helps physicians develop academic, clinical, research and administrative skills that are consistent with the practice, development and improvement of palliative medicine and to rise to leadership in the field.
  • To help physicians develop a broad base of knowledge and analytical skills in palliative medicine. The program emphasizes communication, care planning, symptom management, relief of suffering and mentoring decision-making, particularly as applied to patients and families challenged with life-limiting illness or at the end of life.

Clinical Rotations

The fellows will be actively involved in working with the interdisciplinary teams in a variety of clinical settings. The fellow will rotate in the following clinical activities, with attention to ensuring the fellow integrates seeing patients across these care settings.

Inpatient Palliative Care Consultation Service: Fellows will spend up to 6 months on the inpatient consultation services divided between Rush University Medical Center and Stroger Hospital of Cook County. The consultation services at both institutions have well established interdisciplinary teams and are clinically intensive rotations.

Inpatient Hospice Unit: Fellows will rotate in a hospice inpatient setting dedicated to high acuity support for hospice patients and their families and for the care of the imminently dying. The fellows will spend a total of 8 weeks in this interdisciplinary setting.

Home and Long-Term Care: Fellows will spend at least 8 weeks seeing patients at home and in long-term care settings, focusing on facilitating inpatient-outpatient continuity of care, especially as related to the practice of palliative and hospice medicine.

Outpatient Clinic: Fellows will have a palliative care clinic 1 half-day per week for a minimum of 6 months and will be assigned a faculty preceptor. The fellows will see patients with a variety of diagnosis and have the opportunity to see patients across care settings, hospital to clinic or clinic to home hospice or hospital.

Electives: Fellows can select from a variety of elective rotations, including pain, integrative/complementary medicine, wound care, neurologic and rehabilitative medicine or research. Additional electives can be arranged based on the fellow’s interests.


Regional Fellows’ Conferences: In order to foster camaraderie and collegiality with all the Chicago-area fellows, we have established a regional fellows’ conference series with the other two hospice and palliative medicine fellowships in Chicago at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and The University of Chicago. These monthly half-day sessions are rotated between institutions to allow the fellows to learn from all the academic palliative medicine faculty in Chicago. The sessions lay the foundation for core topics in palliative medicine through a formal, structured teaching session over the course of the academic year. The series in presented in a variety of formats, including didactic, interactive, case-based discussions and role play. Fellows are excused from their assigned rotation and are expected to attend the sessions.

Advanced Topics in Palliative Care: Provides formal, structured teaching on advanced topics in palliative medicine relevant to the specialist in palliative medicine. A one-hour session is conducted monthly by core faculty in the Section of Palliative Medicine, as well as outside speakers.

Journal Club: This session promotes an evidence-based approach and facilitates critical thinking and analysis in reviewing the palliative medicine literature. Monthly sessions are held to critically analyze medical literature, understand clinical research methodology, recognize limitations in palliative care research and understand the approach for protocol development.

Case Conference: This monthly conference provides a structured format for presentation and discussion of complex clinical, psychosocial, spiritual, ethical, and cultural issues that occur in caring for patients with life threatening or life limiting illness, and will seek evidence-based solutions to the issues raised.

Psychosocial Aspects of Care: This monthly conference includes discussion of topics related to the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of care and aspects of professionalism, including self-care.

Schwartz Rounds: This monthly forum is an interdisciplinary activity to enable caregivers to discuss the emotional and social aspects of caring for patients. Rush University Medical Center and Stroger Hospital both hold Schwartz Rounds.

How to Apply

Applicants must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Completed an ACGME or AOA-accredited residency program in any of the following fields: Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Psychiatry or Surgery.
  • Board-eligible or certified in the primary discipline with intent to complete certification
  • Qualify to obtain Illinois Medical License and DEA certification (by the start of the fellowship)

We are no longer accepting applications for 2015-2016. The next application cycle in 2016-2017 will occur with the match.

Applications can be submitted by e-mail (preferred), fax or by mail.

For further information contact:

Joshua Baru, MD
Phone: (312) 864-4496
E-mail: jbaru@cookcountyhhs.org